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Aug 08

The Curse

thecurseGenre: Horror
Year: 1987
Country: USA

aka: The Farm

Director: David Keith
Starring: Wil Wheaton, Claude Atkins, Malcolm Danare, Cooper Huckabee, John Schneider

 

From the darkest part of the heavens, terror has arrived

 

Zach, his little sister and their mother has recently moved in with his new stepfather Nathan, who is a very traditional and religious farm owner. Nathan also has a son from a previous wedding called Cyrus, a chubby and obnoxious kid who likes to pick on Zach when nobody is paying attention.

A meteorite lands on their farm after a stormfull night and it seems to leak some weird fluid into the groundwater. The vegetables that are sprinkled with this water seems to turn rotten and every person who drinks it slowly turns into ravaging mutants.

The Curse is a weird one. I don’t think the title is very fitting and the other title it is known as – The Farm is much more suiting. Even more strange or just weird is the crew assembled for this picture. David Keith, better known in front of the camera than behind it, is debuting as a director, Lucio Fulci (!!!) is a co-producer who oversaw the special effects and Ovidio G. Assonitis was the producer. To top it off, the story is loosely based on a H.P. Lovecraft story called The Colour Out of Space.

The film however plays very straight forward. The terror comes from the meteorite liquid who turns the people into maniacs. They also try to add some family drama with the mixture of the religious and old school ways of Nathan against the more modern ways of Zach’s family. There are also some subplot with a sleazy real estate agent who wants to buy out the farm and also a doctor next door who both gets enough screentime to give us a pause from the family issues.

The biggest problem with this film is the poor script. The premise of a chemical outbreak is fine, but not when it is reduced to only taking place on a small farm. The characters are all poorly created and their choices seem so random at times. Zach’s mother Frances has a one-night stand with a farm worker who just disappears afterwards. If this was supposed to show us how sexual repressed she was from living with Nathan then it was very poorly translated to the screen. There are also several plot holes and inconsistencies that makes me believe that pretty much everything in the script could have used some more work before they went ahead and started to film.

Considering that the script was written by David Chaskin, who also wrote Nightmare on Elm Street 2 and I, Madman, I can’t help to think that plenty of stuff has to have been changed from the script to the final product. For a first time director, David Keith got some things right and even though the film is filled with filler scenes, it does run along smoothly enough to not become painful.

Even though they didn’t have a lot to work with, some of the cast members did do a decent job in attempting to give their characters some life. Wil Wheaton, known from Star Trek and Stand by Me is the star of the film and I can’t say that his acting is starworthy. He has the same look on his face during the entire movie and while that worked better in Stand by Me, it doesn’t add much here. The experienced actor Claude Akins gives arguably the best performance as the father.

The Curse is a poor late 80’s horror film that only huge lovers of the horror films of that time period might enjoy. The most fun thing about it is that Fulci was involved with it somehow and that it has sparked three sequels, which all are unrelated to each other.

 

 ★★☆☆☆ 

 

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